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Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle remembers 49ers explaining playoff overtime rules to players

Jun 18, 2024 at 11:17 AM

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Following the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, there was criticism after some players admitted to not understanding the playoff overtime rules. The coaching staff faced backlash for failing to adequately prepare the team for the possibility of playing beyond four quarters in a postseason game.

"I didn't even realize that the playoff rules were different in overtime," admitted fullback Kyle Juszczyk after the Super Bowl. "So I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win, but I guess that's not the case. I don't totally know the strategy there."

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead echoed this confusion, stating, "I didn't even know about the new playoff overtime rules, so it was a surprise to me. I didn't even really know what was going on in terms of that."

However, tight end George Kittle recalls being informed about the overtime rules and was surprised some of his teammates didn't remember. He emphasized that it doesn't matter because the players' job is to follow the coaches' play calls.

"I'm pretty sure it was explained to us at one point," tight end George Kittle said on the "Bussin' with the Boys" podcast. "But, for me, this is my thing with the uproar about it. I never really understood why it mattered that the player didn't know."

The 49ers opted to start on offense, a decision by head coach Kyle Shanahan that was heavily criticized in the ensuing days. For Kittle, the choice of which until to send onto the field first was obvious.

"I knew that we were gonna do what we did (start overtime on offense) because our defense just got ran up the field over the course of six minutes," Kittle explained. "I think they're exhausted, so I was like, 'There's no way we're going to put them back on the field.' You can't.

"I feel like we all knew what we were going to do, but I'm just going to do whatever the coach asked me to do. Whatever he says, whether we go offense or defense first, I'm just going to go out there and do my job."

Kittle praised the 49ers coaches for their thorough weekly breakdowns of NFL rules, acknowledging that they may even do a better job than other teams.

"I was surprised when that came out because I'm pretty sure we went over that," Kittle continued. "Juice had a hell of a quote. He was like, 'Yeah, I had no idea.' I was like, 'Juice, I'm pretty sure we did.' He got crushed. I was like, 'Dude, Harvard, man. Like, you know this. I promise you.'"

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